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COVID Curbs Leave Hasidic Jews Stranded At Belarus Border

Hundreds of Hasidic Jews, who set off on a pilgrimage to Ukraine via Belarus despite coronavirus restrictions, were stuck in Homel and at the Novaya Huta border crossing on September 15 after Belarusian border guards let them through, but Ukrainian officials turned them back.

Every Jewish New Year, tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews make the pilgrimage to the central Ukrainian town of Uman to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who revived the Hasidic movement and died in 1810.

Usually, tens of thousands of Hasidic Jews from many segments of the ultra-Orthodox community make a pilgrimage to Uman for Rosh Hoshanah, as the new-year holiday is known in Hebrew.

This year, Jewish New Year celebrations run from September 18 to September 20, but Ukraine, which has recorded high numbers of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, has kept a ban on foreigners in place until September 28.

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RFE/RL's Belarus Service

RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.